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Connecticut Bankruptcy Law Blog

How do credit repair services take advantage of people in debt?

It can feel like the whole world is against you when you have to struggle with debt. Creditors may be harassing you, and a bank may even be calling about foreclosure. At times like these, you may reach out for any help you can get. But is it the right choice?

  • How do businesses take advantage of people dealing with debt?

Banks and financial services companies, often working without full regulation, may advertise credit repair services or offer to represent people in negotiation with creditors. Some of these companies may even acquire a list of debtors from reporting services or lenders and attempt to market their services directly.

  • What can go wrong with a credit repair service?

How sickness is driving Americans bankrupt

Most people are only one or two paychecks away from financial disaster -- and they simply don't have the resources to handle a major medical disaster, even if they have insurance. The financial strain of chronic or sudden illness is driving many ordinary Americans straight into bankruptcy.

This isn't particularly a new problem, but there are signs that it is a worsening one. Many people point to the decision of a Nobel prize winner to auction off his medal in 2015 to pay for his medical bills as a signal that the spiraling cost of illness in American is out of control -- but it's really been that way for a while. Back in 2001, approximately one-half of the debtors who sought bankruptcy protection cited medical debt as the reason. Just a few years later, in 2007, a whopping two-thirds of bankruptcy petitions involved medical debt.

New Haven drugmaker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy before moving

Bankruptcy is a hard prospect for any person or business to consider. It's not easy to look at the process as a way to start over because it often feels like failure. But a new start is exactly what the process is supposed to be, especially when businesses want to stay on track as they face their debts.

Chapter 7 is perhaps the most common type of bankruptcy for individuals unable to handle their debts with any other methods. Often called liquidation, a bankruptcy under Chapter 7 often appoints a trustee to sell off available assets and make deals with creditors to forgive any debt that the profits of these sales cannot cover. But businesses often cannot leave their assets behind.

Connecticut helps people keep homes with foreclosure mediation

When it seems like the bank is coming for your house, it can feel like no one could be on your side. After all, the payments were late or never paid, so it may feel like you don't deserve your own home anymore. But it couldn't be further from the truth.

Many banks would prefer to stay out of the real estate business, and no one wants to see anyone thrown out on the streets. Just like people considering bankruptcy, anyone facing foreclosure will probably see several alternatives come up before a notice appears on their doors.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy and lien stripping

Have you been struggling through rough financial times for a while? Did your desperation lead you to take out multiple loans on your home? You may have also fallen into the trap familiar to many: rolling an old car loan into a new one that leaves you owing more than the car is worth.

If so, you aren't alone.

What debts can be discharged with Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

If you are considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy due to your debt, it's important to know the type of debts that can be discharged in this form of bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is best for individuals who are looking to have most of their debt discharged, so they can begin anew in their financial life.

Debt that can be discharged in a bankruptcy filing is debt that will be wiped from your record once the bankruptcy filing is complete. This means that you will not be responsible for these debts once the filing is finalized. A list of dischargeable debts using Chapter 7 includes the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Credit card bills
  • Past-due utility bills
  • Accounts with collection agencies
  • Student loans (if you are able to show undue hardship)
  • Past-due rent
  • Business debts
  • Personal loans
  • Civil court judgments
  • Social Security overpayments
  • Taxes left unpaid past a certain number of years
  • Claims stemming from car accidents (if not due to drunk driving)
  • Veterans assistance loans
  • Credit accounts with revolving charges
  • Fees for an attorney (except for awards of alimony and child support)

Identifying common illegal debt collection practices

It can be challenging for debt collection companies to stay on the right side of the law. These companies are required to follow the law that outlines how they can contact debtors and collect money. When they fail to do so, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can shut them down, ban them from operating and even file lawsuits against them. Below, you will find common illegal debt collection practices.

Debt collection firms are not permitted to make threats when trying to collect money they are owed. Debt collection companies often threaten to tell the debtor's neighbors about their debt, threaten bodily harm and even threaten to have them arrested.

The Chapter 7 means test

Should one ask the average Bloomfield resident to describe personal bankruptcy, the most likely answer would be that it forgives a person’s debts. What they are describing is a broad view of Chapter 7 bankruptcy. There is a good reason why most default to this assumption; Chapter 7 is the most popular form of bankruptcy. According to information shared by the American Bankruptcy Institute, nearly 64 percent of the non-business bankruptcy cases in the second quarter of 2018 were filed under Chapter 7.

There are other options when it comes to bankruptcy, yet with the option of having certain debts completely discharged, one might wonder why anyone would file under a different chapter. Indeed, most people may want to file Chapter 7, yet not everyone qualifies to do so.

What is the difference between Chapter 11 and Chapter 13?

While you may know that there are clear distinctions between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies, you may be more unclear with Chapter 11. As most Connecticut residents know, Chapter 11 bankruptcy primarily benefits business owners and corporations, although a small number of individuals can also take advantage of this option. Before you commit to a plan, you should clearly understand how these bankruptcy types differ.

As our previous blog posts have explained, Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows people to restructure and repay their debts within a reasonable amount of time. If you are considering filing for personal bankruptcy, you may choose this option if you have a steady income and do not want to lose non-exempt assets, such as your home. On the other hand, FindLaw explains that Chapter 11 bankruptcy is usually for businesses, corporations and partnerships to reorganize how their company runs without facing asset liquidation.

What is a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure?

As a Connecticut homeowner in financial distress, you want to avoid foreclosure on your property and the negative consequences it can have on your credit score. To accomplish this, sometimes you need to make some sacrifices. A deed-in-lieu of foreclosure is an arrangement in which your mortgage lender agrees not to foreclose on you in exchange for you turning over ownership of your property. 

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a deed-in-lieu is a method of mitigating loss. The benefit is that you avoid the negative credit impact from a foreclosure, which may make it somewhat easier to start over new. However, one of the downsides of a deed-in-lieu is that you still lose your house. 

Discuss Your Case With A
Respected Bankruptcy Attorney

Contact my office to discuss your debt relief needs directly with me as your lawyer. I offer a free initial consultation to all new clients where you can learn more about your legal options and what I can do to help you. I am available during regular business hours and by appointment at other times. You can reach me by phone at 860-242-0574 and 860-952-3674 or via email.

My law firm is a debt relief agency as so designated by Congress in the year 2005. I help people file for bankruptcy relief under Title 11 of the United States Code, known as the Bankruptcy Code.

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